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March 1955

Kernicterus: Hypoxemia, Significant Pathogenic Factor

Author Affiliations

New Orleans; Munich

From the Department of Neuropathology of the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie, Max-Planck-Institut.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;73(3):293-301. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330090039004

The term "kernicterus" was coined by Schmorl,1 who in 1903 reported observations of bile staining in the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and brain stem in the newborn infant with jaundice, similar to those recorded by Orth2 in 1875. In 1932 Diamond, Blackfan, and Baty3 considered anemia, hydrops fœtalis, and icterus gravis to be manifestations of erythroblastosis fœtalis. Eight years later Landsteiner and Wiener4 discovered the Rh factor in human blood. The following year Levine and associates5 explained most cases of erythroblastosis fœtalis on the basis of isoimmunization of the mother by the Rh antigen of the fetus; the antibody being formed in the mother passes through the placenta to the fetus, with resulting destruction of erythrocytes. In 1946 Wiener * pointed out that there were other factors necessary to explain all cases of erythroblastosis and made note of other antigen-antibody substances to explain those cases which would